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Poster: jerrys beard Date: Nov 24, 2009 9:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: JGB new release

Haven't been able to spend much time in the forum lately, so forgive me if this has already been discussed, but got the new Rhino JGB release with Nicky Hopkins and spent some time listening to it this weekend. This is the first time I heard this lineup and am mightily impressed.

I am familiar with Nicky's work from his projects with other bands (Stones, Quicksilver), but this recording is really quite wonderful. His style really fits well with Jerry and the two of them seem to take a number of songs either in new directions or to new heights. FOTD is really nice and the piano draws some really nice playing out of Jerry.

At this early stage of listening, I would have to say that "Sitting In Limbo" is really the highlight for me. The two of them really feed off each other well and Jerry gives Nicky room to really stretch as the two share the spotlight then really combine to reach some nice soaring moments in the song.

If you haven't given it a listen I would suggest it. Even enjoyed "Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder" a favorite from Quicksilver.

However, it made me wonder what the Dead would have been like if Nicky, who was in poor health, or someone like him had joined the Dead. His playing with JGB kind of prefigured the Bruce Hornsby years when, in my opinion, Jerry had some really great moments. There were many times when I think it would have taken the band in interesting directions to have a keyboard player who could have kept up with Jerry and challenged the entire band to stretch.

For all his qualities, Pig was not a keyboard player. I would imagine that at this point all the Keith/Brent/Vince supporters will and should argue that "their guy" did take the band in new directions, but I hear something in the exchanges between Jerry and Nicky that I don't in the vast majority of Dead recordings, some exceptions, mostly when Bruce sat in.

First post I ever started...wonder if it's possible to slip back into the shadows now.

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Poster: Hal R Date: Nov 25, 2009 10:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

Just got it and am loving it. I like that there are only four of them so it doesn't sound busy all the time and there is open space between notes. Really enjoy Nicky with Jerry, wish it had lasted longer.

Ozzie Ayers did have that cheesey sounding keyboard, it sounds like a cartoon. My wife and I both start having fits of hysterical laughter when we hear it. He was a fine keyboardist, but that sound. To me, makes the worst of Vince sound great in comparison. I'm just laughing now thinking about those tones.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Nov 24, 2009 12:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

Good point Elbow,about Jerry not being a "spotlight" hog in solo project endeavors.He did give his bandmates ample room to contribute.In the band with Hopkins at times it seemed like Nicky's band,which is why I don't care for that version of the JGB,coupled with the fact that I find Nicky's style a little to rock oriented for my taste.In the JGB I really liked Keith and later on Ozzie Allers.Ozzie was really talented but he played that awful,cheesy sounding keyboard,but that was still better than annoying gospel drivel Melvin Seals was going to subject us to for 15 years or so. Interesting question about the keyboard slot Mr. Beard,simple answer,Keith was unmatched.

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Poster: jerrys beard Date: Nov 24, 2009 1:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

Even in this release, you can see that Nicky does all the "narration", tending to point to the suggestion that it is his band, something that I hadn't considered, but that has merit. There are couple of Nicky compositions on the release as well, Pig's Boogie and Edward...both of which I enjoy, but which most naturally feature Nicky, not Jerry. It does make me wonder if Jerry enjoyed playing that role at times, given his stated dislike for being the "leader of the band."

Of the Dead keyboardists, I certainly found Keith to be the best by far, but his inability to consistently be a major contributor to the improvisational nature diminished his value in my way of thinking. I believe what I'm trying to say is that he started strong but didn't stay the course.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Nov 24, 2009 2:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

I bet Jerry totally enjoyed just being able to rip it up instead of leading the band through the song! Just like a great part of the reason I love Bobby songs is what Jerry does with them because he's not busy singing!

Pre-hiatus, Keith's playing is superb and super complementary. Post-hiatus, I can hear him less and less until fall '78 where he's really falling out of the mix with the GD. It is less enjoyable to listen to this time period because it just seems like something is missing, though the rest of the band was on quite often.

I think this brings up an interesting JGB and GD comparison because Keith G was playing quite well with JGB at the same time that (IMO) he was really starting to suck it up with the GD. See 10-28-78 JGB for what some say is a peak for the Jerry's band in the Keith-on-keyboards era.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Nov 24, 2009 4:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

In response to Jerry's Beard and deadpolitics,all valid points and well taken.As far as Keith's role in the post hiatus decline of the bands improvisational skills,I think that was a band wide problem,not something Keith created.As far as I'm concerned after 74' they were a shadow of themselves.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Nov 24, 2009 4:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

Good point on the decline being the whole band's issue. To me, Keith was the most obvious "symptom" of this decline because his flourishes are glaringly absent. The decline in clarity of Jerry's vocal is first noticeable to me in '78 as well. And Bob started playing slide...

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Nov 24, 2009 2:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

I had never heard any JGB from '75 until I finally joined btree.org this summer. Jerry's tone (the fattest I ever heard from any year of JGB) is so clear and his playing is so eloquent. There is very little of the "shredding" more-note-per-minute technique that he started appplying more in the later 70's and early 80's. To me, every note just has more purpose and intention put behind it in these earlier years.

Nicky Hopkins is a beast on the keyboards and very present in the mix - more than pretty much all other keyboards I've heard with Jerry. Ron Tutt brings a nice heavy drumming style to the affairs.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Nov 24, 2009 11:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

nope, you can check out but you can never leave. Egads, I'm going to fried for using those lyrics.

I think you just convinced me to get the new Jerry release. Been debating it but now I think I'll do it. Thanks, I think. However I was having a similar thought about Jerry and keyboard players while listening to the Pure Jerry release prior to the new one. It is from '78 and Keith is tickling the ivories. I think for all of the Keith-JGB years, he has much more room in this format than in the GD at that time, both because of one less guitar and drummer to compete with and because Jerry seems to give him much more space to be in the lead with JGB than with GD. I always thought this was odd as usually when artists from a group "go solo" it is to feature themselves. Jerry seemed to do the opposite. I guess what I am trying to say is that it might have had a lot more to do with Jerry's approach with his solo projects vs. GD than with who the keyboard player was.

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Poster: vapors Date: Nov 24, 2009 12:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

You make good points here elbow (and jb) that have my brain and ears nicely occupied. Just got me a copy of JGB 78 release (love it) and I’ve been debating over this new 75 disc also. If you haven’t already, you can get a pretty good taste with the streams of 12/19 & 20/75 at Wolfgang’s.
http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/jerry-garcia-band/concerts/winterland-december-19-1975.html
http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/jerry-garcia-band/concerts/winterland-december-20-1975.html

This post was modified by vapors on 2009-11-24 20:49:53

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Poster: Stealz Date: Nov 24, 2009 12:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: JGB new release

You went exactly where I was going to go. 12/19/75 and 12/20 have always been two of my favorite back to back Garcia nights. Both are quite exceptional, especially if you want to hear Nicky Hopkins do what he does.

http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=524737

http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=526505

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